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Paul Nordoff Edit Profile


Paul Nordoff, American composer. Recipient Guggenheim Memorial fellowship, 1933, 35; Ford Foundation Faculty fellowship, 1954; Bearns prize, Columbia University, 1933; Pulitzer travelling scholarship, 1940. Member Anthroposophical Society, A.S.C.A.P.


Nordoff, Paul was born on June 4, 1909 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of Paul Bookmyer and Kathryn (Huntington) Nordoff.


Bachelor of Music, Philadelphia Conservatory Music, 1927. Master of Music, 1932. Juilliard Graduate School, 1932.

Doctor of Music, Combs College Music, 1958, Bachelor of Music Therapy, 1960.


Head composition department Philadelphia Conservatory Music, 1938-1943. Assistant professor Michigan State College, 1945. Professor Bard College, 1949-1958.

Research and work music therapy handicapped children, department child psychiatry University of Pennsylvania, 1961-1967, Devereaux Schools, Devon, Pennsylvania, 1961, Institute Logopedics, Wichita, Kansas, 1962-1963. Teacher-consultant music therapy project School District Philadelphia, 1962-1967. Lecturing fellow American-Scandinavian Foundation, 1967-1968.


  • Other Work

    • Composer: Secular Mass, 1935. Incidental music for Katharine Cornell’s Romeo and Juliet, 1936. Every Soul is a Circus (dance for Martha Graham), 1939, 40, 41, Tallyho for Agnes deMille, 1944.

      The Masterpiece (1-act opera), 1941. Concerto for Eugene List, 1947. Incidental music for Katharine Cornell’s Anthony and Cleopatra, 1948.

      Folly (dance for Martha Graham). Lost Summer, Winter Symphony (commissioned for Louisville Philharmonic). Tranquil Symphony (commissioned by New Orleans Symphony).

      The Sea-Change (opera commissioned by Columbia University). Robert Burns: Poems and Songs. Music for children (texts by Clive Robbins).

      Children’s Play-Songs Vol. I and II

    • The Three Bears, The Story of Artaban, Fun for Four Drums, The Children’s Christmas Play, Pif-Paf-Poltrie, Play-Songs with Resonator Bells, Spirituals for Children to Sing and Play. Author (with Clive Robbins) Music Therapy for Handicapped Children: Investigations and Experiences, 1967, Music Therapy in Special Education, 1971, Therapy in Music for Handicapped Children, 1971.


Member Anthroposophical Society, A.S.C.A.P.


Married Sabina Zay, 1945. Children: Anthony, Sylvia, Guy.

Paul Bookmyer Nordoff

Kathryn (Huntington) Nordoff

Sabina Zay

Anthony Nordoff

Sylvia Nordoff

Guy Nordoff